What Do You Do When You Fail?

Failure: When Your Best Just Isn't Good EnoughNot to add more harshness to a Monday, but today, I want to talk about failure. In a race, there is one winner, and a bunch of losers. Not everyone can win — despite what’s taught in some schools and pre-Ks lately, where everyone can win just for playing. Now, maybe you’re like me when it comes to racing. I’ve done several 5Ks or similar races — nothing long, nothing too serious — and while I may have run with people who had aims to be the first to cross the finish line, all I wanted to do was not be the last. In my mind, so long as I wasn’t LAST, I’d still “won.”

And so I think we set ourselves lots of little goals, not just big ones. If I can just finish this novel, I’m a writer. If I can write a complete short story… If I finish editing this bit before midnight… And at the end, up there with the Olympians who are done with the 5K before I’ve even hit the first mile marker, if I can sell my novel in a six-figure deal and quit my job to write full time, THEN I’m a writer.

We’re not all going to cross the finish line at the same time. We’re not all going to get that gold medal. But that doesn’t mean the journey isn’t worth it, or that we can’t meet lots of goals along the way.

So you don’t win. Do you give up? I know I don’t. I’ve talked before about my photo project — a picture a day for 2010. Well, I’ve forgotten three times already this year. Do I quit? No! Of course not. I just take another picture and keep moving on.

How do you deal with goals met or missed?

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